Hollande to visit Berlin 'whatever happens' with Brexit

PARIS, France – French President Francois Hollande said on Wednesday, June 22, he would travel next week to Berlin following Britain's referendum on whether to quit the European Union, regardless of the outcome.

"Whatever happens, I will be in Germany next week to work... towards relaunching the European project," he told a joint news conference with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven.

An aide to Hollande told the Agence France-Presse that he would meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, but did not know whether the visit would take place before or after an EU summit set for June 28-29 in Brussels.

Hollande said he had "stepped up contacts with the concerned parties" regarding the British referendum.

He met earlier Wednesday with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose country currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, "to discuss the consequences of the referendum and initiatives that should be taken for Europe whatever the result," Hollande's office said.

He also met with Prime Minister Robert Fico of Slovakia, which takes over the EU presidency on July 1.

British voters cast their ballots on Thursday, June 23, to choose whether to leave or stay in the 28-nation EU.

Opinion polls indicate a tiny lead for the "Remain" camp led by Prime Minister David Cameron, 4 months after he announced the date for the vote, but the result is on a knife-edge. – Rappler.com